MOGADISHU, Somalia – At least six soldiers were killed and others wounded after gunmen ambushed a convoy in central Somalia on Wednesday, officials said.
The names of the officers killed were identified as Major Dhagaqool Yusuf, Major Abdi Gune, Major Farah Jama Olad, Captain Sharif Irro Mohamed, Major Gangul Halane, and Captain Said Hassan Faley.
Sources say there are three more officers gone missing after attackers ambushed their convoy in central Somalia. They are named Major Ayrow Warsame, 1st lieutenant Qalbi Indha-tag, and Capt Suldan Dirir
The latest attack took place on a semi-forest road in the Galgadud region after assailants sprayed the military vehicles with bullets as the government forces were on their way to the Balanbale area after returning a training held in the Guri-El district.
“A unit of the Somali military in the province of Galgadud fell into an ambush on Wednesday perpetrated by a group of terrorists, killing 6 and wounding 3,” an army officer said.
Senior military officials are said to be among the dead. No group has yet admitted carrying out the raid but Islamist militants are active in the region which links south and north of the Horn of Africa nation.
Somalia has been blighted by instability for more than a decade when an Islamist rebellion broke out in the south, where the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab is battling against Somali and African Union forces.
The assault comes as Somali political leaders in deadlock over the parliamentary and presidential elections expected to start early this month.
The presence of militant groups has disrupted voter registration in some parts of the country and could prevent people from casting ballots on the day.
Since 2011, Somali forces have managed, with AMISOM help, to regain control of large swathes of territory taken by militants, including the capital. AU has 22,000 troops deployed in Somalia in 2007.
Attacks have grown fivefold in the past 4 years, with thousands of people killed since Farmajo assumed office as 9th president of the country following an indirect election in Mogadishu on February 8, 2017.